Understanding Adenomyosis, the signs to look out for, and when and how to seek help.
Endometriosis is often associated with Adenomyosis (pronounced Aden-o-my-o-sis). It is estimated around 1 in 10 women, and those assigned female at birth are affected by Adenomyosis.
Similar to Endometriosis, Adenomyosis is also often under-diagnosed, under funded, and misunderstood.
What is Adenomyosis?
Adenomyosis is a condition defined by the presence of endometrial-like tissue growing and functioning inside the muscle wall of the uterus (myometrium), causing the uterus to thicken and increase in size. Over time as the condition progresses, it can cause the uterus to grow larger than a healthy uterus.
The condition can cause severe pelvic pain, heavy menstrual bleeding, and lead to issues with fertility.
It is not uncommon for people to have both Adenomyosis and Endometriosis.
Our Ambassador, Dr Anita Mitra, explains more about Adenomyosis.
What are the common signs to look out for?
The following symptoms are often associated with Adenomyosis (the list is not exhaustive) and includes:
Heavy or pro-longed menstrual bleeding
Pressure in the pelvis
Pain associated with menstruation, sexual intercourse and bladder or bowel movements
Fatigue (extreme tiredness)
Pregnancy complications (miscarriage) or infertility
If you are experiencing unusual pain that is stopping you from carrying out your usual day-to-day activities, or if you have noticed changes around your periods, there is a chance you might have Adenomyosis, or Endometriosis, or it could be the sign of something else. It is important to tell your doctor as early as possible.
Causes of Adenomyosis
Similar to Endometriosis, we don’t know the exact cause of Adenomyosis or why it happens. There has however been links to several factors that may contribute to its development, such as genetics, problems with the immune system, or a hormonal imbalance.
Ultimately, just like with Endometriosis, Adenomyosis is poorly understood. There is still more to be done to raise awareness and much research needed into developing new and effective treatments, a cure, and more importantly, finding out why and how both conditions occur and what causes them.
Similar to Endometriosis, diagnosing Adenomyosis often requires intimate examinations, assessments, and referrals.
The diagnosis itself can be challenging because, just like with Endometriosis, there isn't a simple test to check for Adenomyosis. Before now, the only definitive way to check for Adenomyosis was to inspect the uterus after it had been removed (this is known as a hysterectomy), however that said, scanning technologies are improving, and nowadays many specialist are able to identify Adenomyosis via ultrasound or MRI scan.
Treatments for Adenomyosis
Similar to Endometriosis, treatments for Adenomyosis usually includes a combination of pain management and medications such as Tranexamic Acid and Mefenamic Acid, lifestyle changes and holistic therapies, hormone therapy treatments such as the contraceptive pill, injection or Mirena coil.
Where necessary, medical and surgical intervention - such as uterine artery ablation to block the blood supply. A hysterectomy (removal of the womb) is currently the only known cure for Adenomyosis.
A hysterectomy is a major operation, one which shouldn't be considered lightly. It should only be considered after considering all other options. It should only be performed when family plans are complete or when a person decides not to have or can no longer have children.
Whilst it is not uncommon for people to have both Adenomyosis and Endometriosis, it’s important to know they are two different conditions.